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Black Culture

07/04/14 Black Culture , Black News , ybw #

Are Black Parents in Competition With Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny?

Are Black Parents in Competition With Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny?
Via itscaelsday tumblr

Via itscaelsday tumblr

by Faith Walker

Santa Claus, Saint Nicholas, bearer of gifts and bringer of good cheer. How could this lovely old man be responsible for Black America going astray? I wouldn’t lay all of the blame at this feet. But, he could be an underlying cause for the loss of priorities.

Let me explain, if I may. I vividly remember when I was younger…much younger,  my family was happy, close-knit and poor. My mother cleaned house and baby sat; my father drove a bus and was a janitor. Their five children were obedient, well-mannered and grateful. There were only three times during the year that we could expect new clothes or toys.

September meant that school would be starting soon and we hoped to get a new outfit and a new pair of shoes for school. We hoped, not expected, the outfit and shoes. My siblings and I knew that having paper, pencils and notebooks for class, would be my parent’s priority. They made sure we had the essentials. They wanted us to be successful in the classroom; the latest clothing trends were the least of their concerns.

Today’s first day of school is nothing like the ones in my childhood. I have spent a lot of time in elementary and high schools over the past two decades. Students stroll in wearing $150 shoes and $90 jeans. Yet, they don’t bring pencil, pen or paper into the classroom. Teachers, especially in upper elementary schools provide pencils, paper and folders to their students. Parents on the other hand, may choose to invest in that $125.00 book bag, but fail to keep it stocked.

Some of our modern day parents are more obsessed with their children dressing the part, than actually learning the information. I’ve spoken too numerous parents who live by the mantra, “I want them to have more than I did, when I grew up.” My parents wanted the same thing, but they realized that it shouldn’t be given to the child without some type of expectations in place.

My first day of school meant Christmas season was in the air. This was the time to earn your Christmas rewards. You see, African American children knew that doing well in school would lead to a happy and Merry Christmas. You earned gifts, because your parents had to work extra hours to provide them. The importance of a good education was drilled into our heads constantly. You didn’t get in trouble at school, or you got in trouble at home. If you didn’t straighten up, your parents would straighten you up. Then…Santa wouldn’t leave presents. He’d leave a lump of coal and if you tried to plead your case to Santa, he wouldn’t listen. Instead of listening, he’d spit in your eye.

Unfortunately, a number of today’s parents don’t have the same thought process our parents did. Students are constantly telling their teacher what new thing they will get when mom or dad gets paid. Really? You’re child hasn’t turned in homework or passed a test in two weeks; yet you’re buying them something every two weeks. Children are being rewarded for mediocrity and irresponsibility. Parents are acting like Santa every day; not just once a year.

Children have not changed; it’s the parents who have changed. What happened to setting high expectations and demanding that your child lives up to them? When did wanting more for your child turn into expecting less from them? What happened to demanding respect from children? When did we decide to be wish grantor instead of disciplinarian? And Santa? Why have you been so silent? Why are you no longer giving coal and spitting in eyes? Is it because you are in competition with the Easter Bunny?

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24/03/14 Black Culture , Black News , featured , ybw #

A Whip in One Hand and a Bible in the Other: 10 Things You Never Knew About Slaves and Christianity (Pt 1)

A Whip in One Hand and a Bible in the Other: 10 Things You Never Knew About Slaves and Christianity (Pt 1)

To African-Americans, what is the value of Christianity and the Bible it derives from? As it relates to the early experience of slaves in this country, it seems insufficient to suppose that the influence of Christianity was all positive or all negative. It has been both a stagnating and lethargic force, as well as a liberating and compelling one. In this first part of a two part series, taken largely from “The Talking Book: African-Americans and the Bible”, we begin to get a sense of what a double edged sword Christianity really was to black slaves.

1.) Most Africans who came to the New World had yet to read the Bible for themselves:  “Catholic priests catechized illiterate African slaves in the Spanish colonies to accept their lot as God’s will.”

“No one on the place was taught to read or write,” recalled former slave Silas Jackson. “On Sunday the slaves who wanted to worship would gather at one of the large cabins with one of the overseers present and have their church, after which the overseer would talk. . . . No one read the Bible. Sandy Jasper, Mr. Ashbie’s coachman, was the preacher. He would go to the white Baptist church on Sunday with family and would be better informed because he heard the white preacher.”

2.) The desire to read the Bible did give rise to an accompanying desire among blacks for literacy.

“…..the slave Peter Randolph “became impressed that I was called of God to preach to the other slaves . . . but then I could not read the Bible, and I thought I could never preach unless I learned to read the Bible.”

3.) It also gave raise to a few slave rebellions:

The reaction that followed in the wake of the Nat Turner rebellion in August 1831 was a veritable crackdown on African-American Christi- anity. Between 1830 and 1834 Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Alabama, and Louisiana all enacted legislation making the education of slaves punishable by fine or imprisonment and completely prohibiting unsupervised slave gatherings and slave preaching.

4.) Some white preachers gave slave preachers snippets that they could use while in the pulpit preaching to black churchgoers:

Slaves were rarely introduced to the Bible through the medium of the printed page. For many slaves biblical literacy began with sponta- neous aural memorization and oral recall. Slaves mimicked what they heard in sermons from white preachers and readers,

5.) Negro spirituals, such as “O Rock Don’t Fall on Me”, focused heavily on the Judgement Day.

6.) The Quakers were the only Christians to consistently and vehemently condemn slavery.

Quaker founder George Fox:

“Consider with yourselves if you were in the same condition as the blacks are, who came strangers to you and were sold to you as slaves; I say, if this should be the condition of you or yours, you would think it a hard measure, yea, and very great bondage and cruelty. And therefore consider seriously this, and do you for them as you would willingly have them do or any other do unto you were you in the like slavish condition, and bring them to know the Lord Christ.”

7.) “The African Church of Charleston, South Carolina, was a congrega-tion of black Methodists founded in 1818 after several thousand blacks had withdrawn their memberships from white Methodist churches in Charleston following a dispute over a segregated burial ground. It became the venue of another abortive revolt that received inspiration from the Bible.”

8.) Frederick Douglas wanted no parts of the Bible later in his life, as he saw that the Bible was used as a vindication for slavery:

“I have met many religious colored people, at the South,” Frederick Douglass wrote, “who are under the delusion that God requires them to submit to slavery and to wear chains with meekness and humility.”4 Bitter experience had taught Douglass and other slaves and former slaves that the master class of the United States bore a whip in one hand and a Bible in the other.

“Douglass anticipated that the Bibles sent to the South would become raw material for proslavery propaganda. The master, holding the Bible and the whip, would now wield each in the service of the other. This biblical Christianity would be the only religion of the book that the slaves might know.”

9.) “How much for this woman? She is a good cook, good washer, a good, obedient servant. She
has got religion!” was a refrain commonly used by slave traders to sell slaves.

Certain verses in the Bible condone slavery:

Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ. (Eph. 6:5)
Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh, not with eyeservice as menpleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God. (Col. 3:22)
Let as many servants as are under the yoke count their own masters worthy of all honour, that the name of God be not blasphemed. (1 Tim. 6:1)

10.) Some blacks followed these teachings literally, as is evidenced by Jupiter Hammond, an eighteenth-century slave poet and essayist, who was the first African American to have his writings published in the United States. He who wrote, referring to slave references in the Bible, “Here is a plain command of God for us,” exhorts Hammond, “to obey our masters. It may seem hard for us, if we think our masters wrong in holding us slaves, to obey in all things, but who of us dare dispute with God!”

 

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18/03/14 Black Culture , Black News , featured , ybw #

5 Ways the Black Bourgeoisie Betrayed and Intentionally Undermined the Black Poor

5 Ways the Black Bourgeoisie Betrayed and Intentionally Undermined the Black Poor

Booker T Washington

by Yvette Carnell

One of the gravest mistakes having been made by the Black working poor over the past century has been to equate Black identity with Black politics, a case which is made clear by Dr. Adolph Reed in his book “Class Notes.” Not all Black people share the same circumstance and in fact, members of the Black bourgeoisie have actively sought and successfully engaged in practices which served to intentionally upend movements of the Black working poor.

1.) Labor activists often deride former Republican President Ronald Reagan for firing 11,000 airline workers for failing to return to work, but it was Maynard Jackson, Atlanta’s first Black mayor, who fired 2,000 striking Black sanitation workers. The sanitation workers, who earned an annual salary of $7,500 a year, hadn’t received pay increases in three years. Even though their union, AFSCME,  had supported Jackson, the mayor wasted no time firing them.

2.) At the start of the National Urban League, wealthy whites such as John D. Rockefeller and Julius Rosenwald were among its founders. Although the League talked a good game and supported collective bargaining for black workers nationally, the local Leagues acted in ways that benefited their white benefactors, even going so far as to break strikes and discourage Blacks from becoming too involved in the Labor movement. (Black Bourgeoisie, E. Franklin Frazier)

3.) In Up From Slavery, Booker T. Washington promised that Blacks would find their freedom only by giving in to white supremacy. In Washington’s mind, we were sure to persevere if only we worked hard and put our buckets down, and Booker’s route to liberation offered no significant remedies to curb white supremacy. And like many Black leaders, Washington was not a product of the Black community, but a designee of the white elite.

4.) In the book Ella Baker & The Black Freedom Movement, it is revealed that Baker, a civil and human rights activist, noted the limits in Dr. King’s leadership because of his membership in the Black Elite and noted the limits of Black charisma as opposed to a grassroots movement which empowered poor people:

“Baker described [Dr. King] as a pampered member of Atlanta’s black elite who had the mantle of leadership handed to him rather than having had to earn it, a member of a coddled ‘silver spoon brigade.’ He wore silk suits and spoke with a silver tongue.

 

“…In Baker’s eyes King did not identify enough with the people he sought to lead. He did not situate himself among them but remained above them.

 

“…Baker felt the focus on King drained the masses of confidence in themselves. People often marveled at the things King could do that they could not; his eloquent speeches overwhelmed as well as inspired.”

5,)  Although Minister Louis Farrakhan has taken an empowering stance in recent speeches, some of his earlier words have sounded much more like something coming from the far right than from a globally known Black leader.  During an interview with now defunct Emerge magazine, Farrakhan said that black people were sick, a diagnosis that would’ve been met with outrage had it been made by a Republican. And during an episode of “Donahue” in the 1990s, he said that Blacks suffered from a “dependent, welfare” mentality.  This served to pathologize black behavior and paint us as somehow inferior in comparison to our white counterparts. (Class Notes, p.52)

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14/03/14 Black Culture , Black News , featured , ybw #

White Torture of Black Bodies: 6 Medical Experiments on African-Americans You Never Knew About

White Torture of Black Bodies: 6 Medical Experiments on African-Americans You Never Knew About
Radiation experiment subject Elmer Allen is comforted by her daughter.

Daughter of radiation experiment subject Elmer Allen comforts her mother, Fredna Allen.

by Yvette Carnell

By now most people know about the Tuskegee syphilis experiments, but what many don’t know is that this was just one in a long line of experiments conducted on African-Americans. The experiments actually began during slavery, when African-Americans were treated no better than field animals, and continued from there. Below is a list of the most heinous experiments conducted on African-Americans.

1. Experiments on slaves by slave owners were conducted en masse, long before the Tuskegee experiments. In his memoir, former slave John Brown described how his master, Dr. Thomas Hamilton of Georgia, tørtured him with homemade medical experiments.  Brown described how he was made to sit naked in a stool atop a burning pit as part of Dr. Hamilton’s experiment. “I could not have helped myself. There was nothing for it but passive resignation, and I gave myself up in ignorance and in much fear,” wrote Brown. After temperatures reached 100 degrees, Brown passed while Dr. Hamilton stood by with a thermometer. In another experiment, the good Dr. attempted to determine how deep black skin goes by blistering Brown’s hand and feet. Slaves provided antebellum doctors with their own personal guinea pigs.

2. It wasn’t just slave owners who were conducting experiments on slaves, but hospitals posted announcements for slaves to be used in experiments. In the 1850’s, Dr. T. Stillman placed an add for “sick Negroes” and slave masters were happy to hand over ill or elderly slaves who could no longer work. It was a win-win for slave owners who got back their slaves if they were healed, and if they weren’t healed, then hospitals paid for the burial. The slaves who were taken in by Stillman and his experiment had no legal rights.

3. Until the 1970’s, prisons conducted experiments on prisoners, most of whom were black. At Philadelphia’s Holmesburg prison, Dow Chemical paid to test potential carcinogens on the mostly black prison population. Many prisoners developed cancers, skin conditions, and mental illness as a result of their experimentation.

4. “I went to the Dr. who did that to me and asked him ‘why’…. I would love to have had children,” said Fannie Lou Hamer. While on the plantation, Hamer had developed a knot on her stomach. When she went to see the physician, he removed her uterus as well as the knot, preventing her from ever having children.

In the ‘big house’, the plantation owner’s wife joked about how Hamer had lost more than a tumor when she was in the hospital, and the news eventually got back to Hamer. Hamer went on to become a voting and civil rights activist. Hamer was only one of many African-American women who were sterilized, a practice which became a favorite of white doctors. Margaret Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood, trafficked in stereotypes and used the Negro Project to decrease black fertility.

5. In 1945, a black trucker named Ebb Cade was in an accident where nearly all of his bones were broken. While he was in the hospital, doctors gave him a toxic dose of plutonium. Before the plutonium could totally devastate his body, Cade must’ve gotten wind of what was going on because he escaped from the hospital. Unbeknownst to him, he’d became part of a study for which he never gave his consent. Cade died eight days after leaving the hospital. He was the first, but not last, African-American to be injected with uranium or plutonium as part of a radiation experiment. Former Secretary of Energy Hazel O’Leary declassified information on government experiments on unsuspecting African-Americans.

6. Charisse Johnson and her husband received a knock  on the door from researchers at Columbia University who wanted to interview her 16 year old son Isaac, who was being held in a detention center. Isaac’s parents signed off on the interviews and tests, which they were told would be used to determine whether Isaac might have medical problems. Little did she know that Columbia University, in cooperation with the New York State Psychiatric Institute, was conducting an experiment on her son in an effort to establish a genetic connection between black boys to violence. The boys were given fenfluramine, which causes serotonin levels to rise.

 

 

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11/03/14 Black Culture , Black News , featured , Race & Racism , ybw

Another Black Student Kicked Out of School After Wave Misinterpreted as Gang Sign

Another Black Student Kicked Out of School After Wave Misinterpreted as Gang Sign
Credit: NBC News

Credit: NBC News

If you don’t believe that America’s education system is geared toward derailing the success of black youth, then look no further than 15 year old Mississippi teen  Dontadrian Bruce, who was suspended from school for waving.

In early February, Dontadrian was sent to the principal’s office, who then informed the 15 year old that he was being suspended over a photo he’d posted for a biology project in which he had three fingers raised. To the laymen’s eye, Dontadrian appears to be waving for the camera, but to principal Todd Nichols, who has no law enforcement background that we know of, Dontadrian’s wave was a gang sign.

“You’re suspended,” Nichols said, “because you’re holding up gang signs in this picture.”

You’d think once the school’s disciplinary committee convened, they would’ve corrected the principal’s harsh rush to judgement, but instead, they doubled down, recommending  “indefinite suspension with a recommendation of expulsion.”

Dontadrian says he was told that his hand gesture was associated with the Vice Lords gang, but he had no idea when he took the photo. He says he was holding up the number 3 to represent the number on his jersey.

“He’s a good child…..I know what he does 24 hours a day,” said his mother, Janet Hightower.

What is most repulsive about this case is that Dontadrian was assumed guilty almost immediately and school officials handed down the harshest punishment possible.

Dontadrian’s stepfather says this would not have happened to a white student.

“I was born and raised here, graduated from Olive Branch, and I’m telling you: they would have done nothing.”

Sadly, this is nothing new.  In January, BreakingBrown reported the case of two suspended Wisconsin high school basketball players for using gang signs.

The school suspended the boys and even contacted police who opened an investigation, all over this picture:

basketball_players_gang_sign

 

The signs that the boys were making when they posed for The Sheboygan Falls News article were actually 3 point signs, like those made by Lebron James and others, but that didn’t help their case with school officials.

Dontadrian was eventually allowed back to school, but his mother is working with the ACLU to ensure that her son’s record isn’t impacted by this incident.

h/t: PolicyMic

 

 

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